Well, there is a lot going on, in both major and minor stories across the globe! So here are some things, at random, that i noticed this morning. I have to say, the things I notice are so random, that I wonder if I'm paying attention at all!
A Criticism of Obama = FAIL: Haaaretz, The Israeli newspaper, has a column up on it's website saying that Obama will go down in history as the president that lost Turkey, Lebanon and Egypt. I am not a fan of President Obama, but that is so much BS! Obama never had Turkey, Lebanon or Egypt. The flames that are engulfing North Africa and the Near East are not of his making, nor are they in anyway his fault. We, and Israeli journalists, need to bear in mind that these are sovereign nations, and with their own populations who have their own agendas. There is absolutely nothing the US can do in this situation, unless we decide to implement a truly imperial policy and invade them, to enforce an order favorable to us. Even if we tried that, we would fail. The days of imperial nations inflicting their will on restive populations are over.
It's at Least Partially About Food: This mess was touched off by a Tunisian fruit vendor who immolated himself as a protest about food prices. Th cost of basic foods has risen sharply in most places on Earth. The disorders in North African and the Near East stem from this fact, compounded by the great divide between rich and poor in these regions. There are people who are going to give this a Marxist or Class War spin, forgetting that it's about food, and hungry people are angry. It started there because it's where the pinch was felt first. Right now the global ratio of stocks to use for corn are the lowest in years, at about 12.8%. The global food index is at an all time high, with the cost of fats and oil up 55% in the last year, and the cost of cereals up 30%. (The figures are from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.) The proximate cause of this is the drought in Russia and the Ukraine, but there are deeper causes. One of them is the diversion of grain to make fuel grade ethanol. An awful lot of corn ends up being burned in internal combustion engines. Another is the puttering out of the Greed Revolution. Globally, the per acre yield of grain is falling, and that include in the US-we are not maintaining our crop lands in any sustainable manner. (Go check the per acre yield figures for the US--it's sobering!)
This sort of disorder is going to spread, and increase.
Speaking of Civil Disorder: Police were called to the Greater New Zion Baptist Church because of a brawl. As many as 75 people were involved, and it took 30 Law Officers to break it up. The reason for the brawl is unclear. And I though we Catholics were bad about division with in the Church... .
Disorder on the Political Front: Twenty-five people were arrested at a protest outside of a conservative strategy session near Palm Springs. protesters carried signs saying "Troops Home Now". "Medicare for All" amd "Tea Party founded and Funded by the Kochs". Some of them wore HazMat suits and called for the session participants to be quarantined. The protest was legal,with permits, but the people arrested left the legal protest area, trespassed and attempted to gain entry to the session to disrupt it. Such a wonderful new age of Civility we're having, when mob action is used to prevent a lawful assembly that exercises constitutional rights. The "progressive" left doesn't like conservatives to have rights. The organizer of the protest said it was to protest "...funding of climate denial groups, far-right political candidates and anti-health care reform efforts." Judging by the signs carried, the participants weren't as focused as the organizers. The protest peaked at about 1000 people. And, I haven't met a or heard of a single group that denies that there is a climate.
Why: Did a protest by 1000 people against conservatives in Palm Springs get more mainstream press coverage than a protest by 400,000 pro-lifers in Washington DC?
Speaking of Climate: If a theory or model does not explain or fit factual observations, it needs to be changed. This is as true for theories of climate as it is for theories of physics. And observations are piling up that do not fit the theory and models used in the global warming debate. I am in no way qualified to judge what's up with the climate, but i can notice things about facts and observations, and how they fit a model. Things like this: Dr. Rajendra Pachauri predicted in a UN report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that the Himalayan Glaciers would be gone by 2035, with catastrophic flooding followed by a dearth of water as glacier fed rivers shrunk or dried out. However, measurements show that the Himalayan Mountain's Glaciers are not shrinking, they're growing! Pachauri admits that the conclusion reported was based on unchecked data and research, but maintains that the glaciers are rapidly shrinking. Of course, measurments and observation by teams from the Universities of California and Potsdam show the opposite.
Let's be real--if we are in a crisis due to climate, then we need to be able to take action if it's due to human agency, or to at least make intelligent plans if it is not. That means we need real science, not pantheistic junk science that's motivated by politics and grant money.
France's Constitutional Court has Offended Gays: The high court in France has ruled that laws against gay marriage do not violate the Constitution of the nation. This has led to an outcry among gay activists. The Communist Party of France has said that "France has retained it's dunces cap over the right for people of the same sex to marry..." Polls and popular opinion suggest that this is going to be changed after the next election. A plurality of French people support Gay marriage. Such luminaries as the Mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoe and Pierre Berge, co-owner of the Le Monde are openly gay. Berge is famous for both his philanthropy and for being the former lover of the late fashion mogul Yves St. Laurent.
The US District Court in Pensacola FL: Judge Rodger Vinson is prepared to rule--and may have already ruled today--on the constitutionality of a provision of the Obamacare Act. The provision in question is the mandatory purchase of health insurance by individuals, who will be penalized if they do not do so by 2014. Judge Vinson will be the second judge to rule this provision unconstitutional if he doesn't uphold it. This case id imprtant though, because it has been filed by 26 States.
Pro Lifers are worried about the Obamacare because it seems to provide too many ways for taxdollars to go for abortion, and the possibility that it will enable euthanasia, or the withholding of hydration and nutrition from terminal patients. Libertarians, however, are concerned with the fact that Congress in this act aggrandized itself with the power to dictate purchases on the part of the citizens. legally, this is without any prior precedent, and alarms libertarians and legal scholars.
Interestingly, unlike most large and complex bills, Obamacare does not include a severability clause--language that would enable other provisions of the law from continuing in effect even if part of it is found unconstitutional. I think this oversight was caused because this book-like behemoth of a law was passed without anyone really reading the whole thing. This will be an important ruling,in a case that's important, for our civil liberties and our freedom from government coercion.
In Another Matter, There is Reason for Hope: Miley Cyrus, the celebrity with the most problem keeping yp with cell phone pics since Ms. Hilton, has been named the "Worst Celebrity Influence". Now that's not really much of a surprise, and it can be pretty meaningless. After all, me and two beer budies can form a non-profit, call ourselves something catchy like 'Dads for Decency" and name anybody we want as worst influence. But Miley got this distinction from a poll on AOLs Just so You Know website, with 58% of the votes, and this website is aimed at the 9-15 year old age group. They don't like her either, I guess. Just goes to show--when you prove to the whole world that you can't look cute while sucking hallucinogens through a bong, people notice.
I Don't Think I Trust this Deacon: Canon Lawer Ed Peters, JCD, pointed out that while the usage of the Church ordaining married men to the Diaconate, and the Pastoral Provision and now the Anglican Ordinariates does not require continence, Canon Law does. Dr. Peters has a point. And while i do not think that these men should be required to eschew their wives, I do think Canon Law needs to be revised to recognize this. However, one deacon has spoken out on this matter--as is his right, and as he should--to say that Latin Rite Canon Law should be interpreted in the light of Easter Canon Law. I think this is balderdash, and related to the progressive political faction that insists American law, Federal, State and Constitutional should be interpreted in the light of the laws of Europe and other nations. It's flat wrong.
But then, I noticed that this mans education--he too is entitled to be called Doctor--isn't designed to make him faithful to the Traditions and norms of the Church. He got his undergraduate from St. Ambrose University--an institution that has been embroiled in scandal, along with the ordinary who had charge of it concerning homosexuality and sexual abuse. He got his Masters in Education from Pepperdine, and his Maters in Theology from St. Mary of the Woods College. St. Mary of the Woods is not listed as a Mandatum School, nor is it on the list of Schools that require an oath of fidelity from it's theology professors. (I grew up in near St. Mary of the Woods--and I can guarantee that the Sisters of providence are not a congregation noted for fidelity to the Magisterium, the bishops or the Church.) He holds a PhD. in theology from Catholic University in Washington DC--not exactly known as a hot bed of fidelity either. I also note that he hasn't any training in Canon Law.
I just don't think he is qualified to comment on this matter from a standpoint of interpreting Canon Law, and how that process should work.
And I can't help but comment that his posts on Deacons as sacramental ministers shows photos of improperly vested deacons, and refers to priest as presbyters. It also refers to them as 'presiding' at the Eucharist, with no mention of confecting the Sacrament. I am not at all sure he is clear about the ontological nature of Holy Orders.